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NIH Public Access Policy Compliance

About the Policy

The NIH Public Access policy requires that final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts resulting from NIH-funded activities MUST be submitted to the PubMed Central (PMC) repository upon acceptance for publication. PMC will make them available to the public within 12 months after the journal articles are published - timing is often determined by publisher agreements. You (the author/PI) are responsible for the compliance, but Library staff are ready to help you.

Please e-mail if you have questions about how to bring an article into compliance after reading the tutorial below or searching through this guide.

If you need to get in touch with the NIH directly for help, contact information can be found here.

Bringing Articles into Compliance

This guide presents some easy steps to follow if you have received an e-mail from the Research Administration Center of Excellence (RACE) about an article that is not compliant with the NIH’s public access policy.

1) Should the article have been linked to your grant in the first place?

Mistakes can happen, and sometimes a grant becomes associated with an article that it did not support. Learn how to disassociate your grant from an article in your NCBI My Bibliography account.

2) Is the article exempt from the Public Access Mandate?

Your article is exempt if it was:

  • Not peer-reviewed
  • Accepted for publication before April 7, 2008
  • Not supported by NIH funds

Learn how to change the status of your article to “exempt” in the system.

3) Does the article already have a NIHMS-ID (NIH Manuscript Submission System ID)

The Public Access Compliance Monitor (PACM) Report that RACE sends you will have an NIHMS-ID listed in the third column if one has been created for the article.

If you have an NIHMSID, the article has likely stalled in the review process. Learn how to check on an article's review status, and how to take over reviewer responsibility for an article, if necessary to bring it into compliance.

4) Has it been over three months since your article was published, and it still does not have a NIHMSID?

Then you will want to learn how to start the submission process yourself.


How to disassociate your grant from an article in My Bibliography

  • Sign into NCBI using your eRA Commons Log-in.
  • Go to your “My Bibliography” and look at the article in question.
    • If there is no lock symbol next to the award, click “Add or delete award” and unselect the award in question.
    • If there is a Gold Lock: contact the NIHMS Help Desk
    • If there is a Silver Lock: email the Public Access Policy group at


How to change the status of your article to exempt

  • Sign into NCBI using your eRA Commons Log-in.
  • Go to your “My Bibliography” and look at the article in question.
  • Select the “edit status” link.
  • Choose the reason that the citation does not need to be submitted from the list provided.


How to check on an article’s review status in NIHMS

  • Sign into NIHMS using your eRA Commons Log-in.
  • The status of your articles will be summarized in list on the manuscript status menu to left side of the page.
  • Click on “Needs Your Attention” to find articles that are out of compliance.


How to take over reviewer responsibility for an article that is stalled in NIHMS.

  • Sign into NIHMS using your eRA Commons Log-in.
  • Go to the “Available to Claim” section on your manuscript status menu. This section includes articles that have been waiting for 4 weeks or more for a reviewer to take action.
  • Click the “Assign to Me” button to take over reviewer responsibilities.


How to submit an article to NIHMS to bring it into compliance

  • Sign into NIHMS using your eRA Commons Log-in
  • Click on the blue “Submit New Manuscript” button on the left side of the page.
  • The system will take you step-by-step through the submission process. You will be asked to:
    • Link to the article record using a PubMed ID, DOI, My Bibliography record, or to enter information into the system manually.
    • Search for and select funding.
    • Upload the document file. Note: the file uploaded must be the final peer-reviewed author manuscript, *not* the publishers PDF.  If you do not have access to the author manuscript, you can contact the publisher and ask them to begin the submission process for you.
    • Designate a reviewer and indicate an embargo period, if applicable.
    • Accept a submission statement if you are the reviewer. If not an email will be sent to the assigned reviewer to accept the statement.